SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The King James Shooting Stars vs. NJ Playaz game at the EYBL on Sunday featured multiple top-25 juniors, including Duke-commit Luke Kennard, as well as Isaiah Briscoe and Moustapha Diagne.
But it was top-10 sophomore V.J. King that stole the show – and that's not a surprise. He's among the best players in the country, and he relishes playing against guys of the same caliber.
“These are the best guys in the nation,” King said. “I feel like I'm right up at the top with them. I'm just trying to get better everyday and compete, but there's a lot of great guys in my class so it's fun to play out here.”
King, a 6-foot-5 small forward from St. Vincent-St. Mary's (Ohio), is a smooth-shooting wing who creates matchup issues for defenders. He can go off the bounce and finish at the rim, but he's also terrific in transition due to his athleticism.
Ohio State and North Carolina State have hosted him for visits.
“Their campuses are great,” King said. “Being out there, in those environments, with those groups of guys. Both coaches are great guys. It was fun to be out there.”
He is ranked No. 6 in the 247Sports Composite.
Bam Bam emerges as big man target in 2016
Edrice "Bam Bam" Adebayo turned some heads during the school season playing for Northside (N.C.) – but he really solidified himself as a five-star prospect at the Nike EYBL Sacramento.
The 6-foot-9 big man was an absolute force for Boo Williams (Va.). He was dominant on the glass at both ends, showing a high motor and the ability to consistently finish above the rim.
“I want to be on top,” Adebayo said. “I want people to know I'm here and ready to play.”
He added that he thinks he's among the top 10 players in the class.
Schools are taking notice, too.
“It's just really starting,” said Eric Peartree, Adebayo's mentor.
North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Mississippi State and Old Dominion are on him right now.
Name to watch in 2017: Jatarious Smith
He didn't play much in the first half against Wings Elite (Ark.), but Jatarious Smith came on in the second half for Southern Stampede (Ga.) and made an immediate impact.
Smith finished with 14 points in 20 minutes, knocking down two 3-pointers and finishing with aggressiveness at the rim on multiple occasions.
The 6-foot-4 shooting guard from E.E. Smith (N.C.) is hearing from North Carolina State, Baylor and Virginia Tech.
He has visited the Wolfpack's campus.
“I like the school and the environment,” Smith said. “The coach is real cool, the players were nice.”
While Smith is holding his own against older players, he continues to improve.
“Everybody is working on something, so I'm working on my game,” he said. “I want to get better. If I want to play 17-and-under, I have to do better.”